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Google Turns 10 209

Ian Lamont writes "It was on September 7, 1998 that Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google Inc., aiming to provide a better search engine. You can see what it looked like here. Google had a relatively good search engine technology that succeeded in burying many late 1990s competitors, and it eventually developed a successful advertising model and pledged to operate on a 'don't be evil' philosophy. The company now has nearly 20,000 employees and a $150 billion market value, and has been acquiring or developing a host of groundbreaking technologies. When did you start using its search engine? Is the world a better place because of Google?"
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Google Turns 10

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  • pictures (Score:5, Informative)

    by toby ( 759 ) * on Friday September 05, 2008 @03:54PM (#24893787) Homepage Journal
    For those curious, like I was, here are the original Google server pictures [c63.be] missing from the Wayback Machine's archive.
  • Deja News (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Crowhead ( 577505 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @03:55PM (#24893799)

    I started using Google when it bought Deja News which was the only good place to find a broad selection of technical information on the web. I guess I just defaulted to Google as a search engine after that.

    • That's about the time frame I started using it. But I had resisted for a long time because I didn't think their model of "rank by links" was such a good idea. Eventually it got good enough I trusted it reasonably, and by then the others (yahoo, altavista, alltheweb) all seemed to have more problems than google.

      That said, I still sometimes use the others.

      • by repvik ( 96666 )

        One interesting sidenote is that AllTheWeb had hardware search which was ~20x the speed of Google per server. Unfortunately, AllTheWeb had only a couple servers and Google had dozens. That, combined with different algorithms and a verbable name was probably the reason ATW lost for Google ;)

  • Google AND the Big Lebowski make the scene in that fateful year. Coincidence? Hmm.....

    I don't know about Google, but the world is definitely a better place because of the Dude.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2008 @03:58PM (#24893855)

    Of all the search engines, Google was the best name to use as a verb.

    "All this time I thought 'Googling yourself' was the other thing."
    -- Marge Simpson

    • by atari2600 ( 545988 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:23PM (#24894321)

      Google doesn't want you to say Google [cnet.com].

      • by Hatta ( 162192 )

        That's not what your link says. They don't want it to be a generic verb, as they could lose their trademark. But really, does anyone use 'google' as a generic verb? When people say "Google it", they mean "search Google(tm) for it".

      • by falconwolf ( 725481 ) <falconsoaring_2000@@@yahoo...com> on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:42PM (#24894673)

        Actually TFA [cnet.com] says Google doesn't want people to use, say "googling" as a term for generic searches. As it says, there are serious, by business standards, concerns with using the term. It dilutes the trademark. Xerox had the same problem when people started using "xerox" to mean copying or duplicating. You only xerox on a Xerox machine. I skate with inline skates, the skates are Roller Blades, so when I use them I say roller blading. If the skate were not Roller Blades I wouldn't use the term "roller blading".

        Falcon

        • I like the phrase "put a google-y on it" as in "if you don't know what a blah, blah, blah is, just put a google-y on it.

        • by spyder913 ( 448266 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @05:11PM (#24895101)

          Unfortunately for Google (and Adobe, and Xerox) what they want people to do doesn't matter. Fortunately for the Google and Adobe, when people talk about "googling" or "photoshopping" they are still usually using their products. Unlike the large number of people making xeroxes on their Canon copier.

          • Leave it to lawyers to turn something innocuous and something people do without thinking in to something completely ridiculous.

            There are only two types of politicians, war heroes and lawyers. The rest got there by accident.

          • Photoshopping.

            That's one I forgot in my last post. I use Gimp, but in casual conversation, "photoshopping" sounds so much sexier than "gimping".

            It also keeps from having to explain wth Gimp is. Since once they find out it's free, the conversation will turn to "hey, can you help me download that?" and then a hundred emails about how to do this or that. No thanks. :)

            • I use Gimp (Score:3, Funny)

              by falconwolf ( 725481 )

              I want to try Film Gimp aka CinePaint [cinepaint.org]. But I need a book or something to learn it and I haven't found one. That or someone to show me how to use it.

              Falcon

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by falconwolf ( 725481 )

            Unfortunately for Google (and Adobe, and Xerox) what they want people to do doesn't matter.

            While it may not, does not, matter colloquially legally it does. Xerox [seattletra...lawyer.com] for instance has gone on at it's own expense to protect it's trademark. Trademark protection [lectlaw.com] is a serious concern in business. Coca-cola's trademark is valued at $72.5 billion dollars [smithhopen.com].

            Falcon

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          If the skate were not Roller Blades I wouldn't use the term "roller blading".

          Yes, but it's a good way to stick out like a giant wrinkly penis in social settings to not use the common phrases for things. I call gelatin deserts 'jello', inline skates 'roller blades', and using the search bar in a browser 'googling', if for not other reason than to not have to stop and explain things with more words than needed.

          Then again, as a personal entity with no stake in these corporate entities, I could care less about their trademark protections.

          Anyway, just about everyone uses Google nowadays,

          • trademarks (Score:3, Interesting)

            by falconwolf ( 725481 )

            Then again, as a personal entity with no stake in these corporate entities, I could care less about their trademark protections.

            I used to write and there's not many things that will get a published writer slapped with a lawsuit faster than to use a trademark as a verb, or in the case of Coca Cola as a pronoun for a generic drink. In my writing classes and in the writing clubs or groups I was a member of this was pretty regularly stressed. A regular person on the streets, or on /. doesn't have to be concer

      • by Anpheus ( 908711 )

        That's a trademark issue. If they act like they're totally OK with it, then Microsoft and Yahoo can use google as a verb anywhere they like. Google doesn't want that to happen, so they defend it anyway, despite it being impossible. Putting it in dictionaries, as mentioned above and below I believe, is a new tactic for trademark defense. At least, it is to me. I am not a lawyer. :)

    • by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:50PM (#24894823)

      Of all the search engines, Google was the best name to use as a verb.

      I disagree. Imagine the conversations if Microsoft's service had caught on:

      "Dude, have you seen Japanese tentacle rape?"
      "Yeah, I Lived it!"

  • by stevedcc ( 1000313 ) * on Friday September 05, 2008 @03:59PM (#24893879)
    I don't know, well before 2002. I'm sure they know the exact date!
  • I started using Google when it gave me www.theville.org as the first result when I typed in the ville as a search string. Altavista doesnt even have www.theville.org on its first page for that same search string.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by danieltdp ( 1287734 )

      I had a similiar experience. I was always struggling to find somthing at altavista when I heard about google and decided to give it a try. Things that came up at page 65 or whatever on altavista just kept popping on google's first results all the time!

      I dropped altavista and never looked back

  • Late 1999. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluephone ( 200451 ) * <grey@buAUDENrntelectrons.org minus poet> on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:02PM (#24893927) Homepage Journal
    In late 1999 I heard buzz from my fellow geeks that Google provided amazing results, so I tried it out. Within a couple days, I completely abandoned Alta Vista for Google, and even scaled back bothering with Yahoo because the results were just crazy accurate. I found myself boosting it to friends both of the geek persuasion and not, and everyone liked it. IMO, it was truly a case of a superior product trouncing the competition, the entire point of capitalism. They built a better mouse trap (pun not entirely intended).
    • pretty much the same, before google I used to use a mix of altavista/hotbot/yahoo but after I tried it a couple of times I was hooked given how incredibly better their search results were. Wish I had thought about applying to work there back then, it must have been quite a lot of fun.

      Only thing I wasn't happy about at all was when they acquired deja, as I thought the original deja interface was better. Nowadays very few folks are on usenet anymore unfortunately, so it is a moot point.

      Hey google, what about

      • message boards (Score:3, Informative)

        by falconwolf ( 725481 )

        Hey google, what about creating a new search type along the lines of 'look for this search only on messageboards and forums'?

        Google is good for blogs [google.com] but like you say I don't think it's that good for message boards or forums. Alta Vista gives me better results there. What I find weird is that when I've done some searches on Google the top results were from About.com [about.com], specifically searching on topics about photography and archaeology [about.com] or anthropology [about.com]. Google for monte verde [google.com] and Google's first result is T [about.com]

    • I was a big fan of OpenText's search engine in the late 1990s. It was far better than any of the others I'd used before. (They still exist but left that market.)

      After being introduced to Google in fall of 1999, I had a string of "I'm feeling lucky" attempts resulting in exactly what I wanted. I was hooked. It's only in the last few years that I've found some specialty search engines give better results, as too many Google results are ad trolls or tangentially-related forum posts or obscure PDFs (and in

    • Re:Late 1999. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Creepy ( 93888 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:32PM (#24894481) Journal

      I'd guess I started somewhere in 1999 as well, but possibly 1998 - a guy I'd worked with in college showed it to me and the fact that it had indexed both my college website and my first html, which had somehow gotten nested into a server and never deleted (and was circa 1992 - that is pre-mosaic - I wrote it I believe for WorldWideWeb (it was on NeXT, so logical) and then wrote a different page for another pre-1993 browser (no idea which, but it was text - I don't know if lynx was around yet or not - all I know is my page was all text), but then decided it had no future and Gopher was the future - man, was I ever wrong.

      Google's future I could immediately see - easy to remember and a very simple page with fast search and a huge index. Also having come from AltaVista and to a lesser extent, Netscape and Yahoo portals, the lack of massive amounts of advertising was refreshing (and the lack of those newfangled popup ads was cool, too).

  • Hell Yes (Score:3, Informative)

    by hoofinasia ( 1234460 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:02PM (#24893937)
    Xprize [wikipedia.org], Summer of code [wikipedia.org], etc. Google is definitely a great company. Sure Gmail is Creepy [gmail-is-too-creepy.com] and they've taken heat for their TOS [slashdot.org], but they are still a stand-up, innovative company in my mind. And god-by-every-name bless those guys for their green mindedness [google.com] and showing its possible for a billionaire corp to do some good.

    However, that doesn't mean they won't be next generation's Microsoft. Remember, MS had the little guy advantage for a while, and was innovative and even generous with the charities. But plenty hate them now [slashdot.org].
    • by rk ( 6314 ) * on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:56PM (#24894919) Journal
      I consider not ever getting email from Daniel Brandt to be one of Gmail's most compelling features.
    • by Chyeld ( 713439 )

      As someone who lived through the rise of Microsoft, the only people I remember 'loving' them were their stockholders.

      Then again, my first computer was a Timex Sinclair ZX81, my next an Atari 520 ST, and I used Mac's in college because the PC's didn't even have a hard drive.

      The primary difference, and the reason I don't expect Google to become the next Microsoft, is Larry and Sergey have never come off as arseholes IMO. While Bill Gates always acted like one IMO.

      The founders of a company may not control it's

  • It's easy to forget (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SlashDotDotDot ( 1356809 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:03PM (#24893957) Journal
    how bad search really was before Google. For that matter it's easy to forget that it used to take work to find information at all. Our culture has just barely begun to come to terms with how revolutionary this change really is.
    • by Bogtha ( 906264 )

      It really was that bad back then. Pre-Google, it wasn't unusual to go to the second results page even for common queries. These days, I almost never have to go past the first results page. I suspect the effect is magnified due to the growth of the web though. It's easier to find relevant pages when there's so many more of them.

      As for me, I started using Google back when it was google.stanford.edu, so that's 1997 or earlier.

    • by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:20PM (#24894265)

      Nah, it's easy to remember how bad search was before Google. Someone has set up a very handy page [cuil.com] to remind everyone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Altavista was that bad? I mean I grew up with Veronica and WAIS. I do appreciate that Google came out on top, but Altavista rocked for a while :)

      • by rk ( 6314 ) *

        I don't remember Altavista's search ever being that bad, but I switched permanently to Google when Altavista started to remake themselves into a portal. Google's interface was so clean it trumped altavista.

        Now, Google can be a portal, but it's not a bad one, and can all be dismissed and returned to an interface that isn't much more different than the one they had then.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by syousef ( 465911 )

      how bad search really was before Google. For that matter it's easy to forget that it used to take work to find information at all. Our culture has just barely begun to come to terms with how revolutionary this change really is.

      I'm TIRED of hearing about Google as some sort of saviour.

      Search engines weren't bad before Google. In fact Altavista was great in its day. It didn't survive competition with Google (and probably wouldn't have scaled well).

      What has Google brought us? Google news? Nope the bought Deja.

      • Just a note: as a small-network admin, I like Google Updater (since things like Google Earth and sometimes Picasa are in use). Just one less thing to have to think about. Well, I am annoyed by the auto-start thing (which I always remove). I wish vendors would get a clue about that.

      • I hear ya on the fanboy comment, but I think google really was a revolutionary company. Were they saviours? Nah, but they did make the geek's life easier. And, they made the non-geek's life even easier, which in turn made the geek's life easier. I really don't use any of their services (gmail is my junk mail), but they are head and shoulders above the rest as far as searching and for that they deserve much credit. As for treatment of employees, I am pretty sure I would accept a position at google if th
      • by jafo ( 11982 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @08:14PM (#24896653) Homepage

        I started using google sometime in 1996, quite possibly shortly after they started in January. I heard about this new search engine, possibly even here on slashdot, and gave it a try.

        Before then, I was mostly using Alta Vista. It was ok, but you really had to dig through the results to find what you needed. I remember that time as "all search engines suck, Alta Vista just sucks less".

        Then I tried google.stanford.edu and never went back. Literally. Their index was much smaller than Alta Vista at that time, but their results were so much better. Alta Vista had all sorts of garbage on their front page, but that never really bothered me -- it was all about the search results, the cleaner front page was just a side benefit.

        So, in response to the previous poster, I would argue that Google *WAS* some sort of a savior. Definitely back in 1996 they were.

        Maybe those that came in later like 1998 to 2000 were coming from a much improved Alta Vista than I was, but in 1996 Alta Vista was really quite terrible in comparison with Google.

        Sean

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) *

        Bullshit, as long as I've been using the web nothing comes close to googles search quality.
        Ok perhaps they aren't our saviour or something like that but no other search engine even came close to such precise and exact results.

        I can type in exactly what I want and I get it 99% of the time (and I mean 99%)
        Try that with Live search even today and it spits back all kind of ridiculous shit, you have to wonder what on earth it's thinking.

    • It's easy to forget how bad search really was before Google.

      Oh, I don't ever think I'll forget, thanks to a single, defining moment. It was the mid ninties, I was about 13, and I needed a picture of a door for homework. I searched "door picture" on altavista. There were one or two terrible, low res pictures of doors in the results. The rest were porn.

      • There were one or two terrible, low res pictures of doors in the results. The rest were porn.

        I am *so* going back to AltaVista! Thanks for the tip!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Google was attractive at first mostly because the interface was so clean compared to the "web portal" crap that every other search engine suddenly morphed into in the late 90s. Altavista had a reasonable database and a great command interface.
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      And it is easy to forget how good it used to be. I did a search to see on how to watercool (is that even a word?) my videocard. I get some 500.000 hits on buying the card with some links to watercooling that I can also buy or the other way arround.

      After adding a lot of + and - in the search, the nuber went down, but still no result.

      I used to type one or two words and got what I was looking for. Now I need to expand my search result to show at least 50 on the first page to be sure that I can find something t

  • by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:04PM (#24893965) Homepage Journal
    Google Beta Turns 15
  • by 1sockchuck ( 826398 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:04PM (#24893975) Homepage
    All the really good evil is coded and compiled deep inside the top-secret Google data centers [datacenterknowledge.com], surrounded by moats filled with sharks with friggin' laser beams on their heads.

    Conspiracy theories aside, the data centers are a major innovation, and an area where Google has set standards for its competitors to chase. Google's massively scalable infrastructure is a big part of what has set it apart.
  • Gopher! (Score:2, Funny)

    by PuddleBoy ( 544111 )
    Google? I still visit the Mother Gopher for all my informational needs!
  • I still have the best search results, by far, on google. Yahoo would come in 2nd, and MS Live in a very distant 3rd. I know I can find what I need on Google, so whatever magic search mojo algorithims they're using, are working.

    They've also offered a host of relatively good, free, albeit always-in-beta services. They were offering 1GB of storage when almost all the other guys were offeing 2 or 3 MB's.

    I think google should just keep on rockin.
  • which is still around [altavista.com]

    it was 2000, a guy told me about it at work, and i was instantly hooked, simply because the search results were better than anything else i had tried

    • Altavista's a bunch nicer BTW, as it was a demo to sell Digital computers. Its one of the few binary searchers. Google's a fuzzy search. good in many cases, but not all.

      Well... I was using altavista.digital.com . Now it's some park for HP.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Lije Baley ( 88936 )

      Altavista was excellent when it first came out. It had the clean Google-like interface, great coverage, and was very controllable. Then it went to hell and got "Portalized". I remember switching to Google because I had to, and that my initial impression was that Google was inferior to the original Altavista, but at least better than anything available at the time.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:10PM (#24894081) Homepage

    Google started off running on Stanford equipment, and was spun off, as happens frequently at Stanford. Sun and Cisco also started with Stanford people and equipment.

    Stanford has become a real estate company and a venture capital firm [stanfordmanage.org] that runs a university on the side for the tax break. It's working out very well; they now have $21.6 billion in investment assets, including a big chunk of Google. This started around 1991, when the financial management operation was spun off as a separate company. The financial operation invests in venture pools, which in turn fund venture capitalists, which fund startup companies, some of which become big. They can draw on expertise from the academic side to help evaluate investments. It's working quite well; annualized returns for the past decade were 15.1%. Tax free!

    • by Timmmm ( 636430 )

      Erm... All universities (well all the good ones) have business incubators for spin-offs with the aim of commercialising research. How is Stanford different (other than being very successful)?

    • by religious freak ( 1005821 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @05:26PM (#24895305)
      BFD, Yale has about the same amount and Harvard has about $35B. The people that attend those colleges are rich, and colleges are ranked by how much money their alumni donate. Every major university has an endowment, though the best obviously stand out, as they do in academics.

      Congress got irked at all the money just "sitting" there tax free and forced the university's hand by offering reduced, or sometimes even free education to certain lower income families. In this case "lower income" could mean $120,000/yr.

      I think the universities could put the money to better use, but singling Stanford out is not telling the whole story. Also, I think VC investing in your students' business ideas is a great use of money and a great way to keep the virtuous cycle going. The key is selling at some point.

      http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/30080 [scrippsnews.com]
  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:13PM (#24894143) Journal
    I don't know if it's a better world, but I can sure find a lot more stuff a lot easier than ever before.
  • I tried out Google when I first heard about it (naturally here on Slashdot). It wasn't instant love. I still went back and forth between my favorite -- Hotbot -- and Google. But eventually, Google won out.

    I never understood why anyone liked Altavista after I told them about Hotbot. Hotbot was so much more consistent at bringing desired content to the top of the pile.

    And then there was Google.
    -l

    • by vistic ( 556838 )

      Hotbot always had those radioactive colors... and every search just yielded porn.

      I think I was a fan of Webcrawler or Metacrawler... the one with the cute little spider.

  • All I can think of is all those job search results, those infidelity results, all that porn, those movies, lyrics, wallpapers, did i mention porn, fedex-ups-usps-dhl tracking, spell checking, simple calculations, unit conversions, product comparisons, cracks, telling time, tracking flights, spying on your neighbors, caching ability and a lot more stuff has certainly been very convenient for me and a few million other people.

    Your mileage may vary.

  • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:23PM (#24894327) Journal

    November of 1998 I was doing some y2k testing for the phone company, and one of the long-timers ("the guru" of Unix there) told me about a new search engine he had been using for a few weeks, that rocked his world. Over Christmas I started playing with Google(beta), and eventually quit using anything else.

    It's still the best search engine out there, but that's because everyone else has given up. It's nowhere as useful now as it was when it first came out, unfortunately.

  • Of course this isn't much of a concern for most Slashdot readers these days, but one reason I switched to Google, however many years ago it was, and have kept coming back, has been their consistent consideration for those of us who are occasionally stuck with a slow net connection.

    Using Yahoo over dialup is intolerable. By comparison Google's main search page is still lightning fast over a modem. Sure, they'll let you gum it up with all that "iGoogle" clutter if you insist, but if you avoid the eye candy te

  • Not necessarly, but Internet search technology certainly is ..

    Now if only the Slashdot people were also to enthused ..

  • I'm disappointed (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sarten-X ( 1102295 )

    My favorite thing about Google is the unique logos marking special occasions. Sadly, they don't seem to consider today special enough.

  • Minimal Page Size (Score:4, Informative)

    by jbezorg ( 1263978 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:37PM (#24894583)
    I started using Google as my home page because of it's minimal page size. If I opened a browser I was either going to use a bookmark or was going to do a search. Not having to wait for the overhead that the other search engines had was a bonus to search results that were on par with other search engines.
  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @04:39PM (#24894619)

    I can't believe how you've grown! Why it seems like only yesterday. . .

    Literally. This internet thing is growing up so fast!

    Dang. There are actually net-savvy kids out there now who never lived in a world without Google. Think about that!

    When did years start to fly by like this? I'm amazed.

    -FL

  • Do Evil (Score:2, Informative)

    Too bad that Do No Evil has so obviously fallen by the wayside, although the search engine does remain good.
  • do you Yahoo? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by opencity ( 582224 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @05:13PM (#24895137) Homepage

    Remember Yahoo's big ad campaign to become a verb. No one Yahoos, everyone Googles

  • From where I'm sitting, today is September 5th.
  • I remember when Metacrawler was invented here at UW. For several years it was my search tool of choice. But it eventually went commercial, and soon afterward it went way south. Fortunately I became aware of Google at about that time - and (unlike Metacrawler) when Google went commercial, they managed to remember why people used their tool in the first place.

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland@ya ... .com minus punct> on Friday September 05, 2008 @06:09PM (#24895785) Homepage Journal

    it was the load speed. While every other search engine/crawler took forever to load a boat load of crap, Google was simple.

    Really, does any person outside of Google care if returns .02 seconds faster then a competitor?

  • ... but I'm not too impressed. Google profits from the ease of separating advertisers from their money, not from the relatively meager output of their 20000 employees.

    For each and every thing Google offers, decent alternatives exist. Even if Google search would disappear, the void would be filled quickly. The same second source effect applies a fortiori to their shady advertisement business, Gmail and the hodgepodge of unrelated, discretionary, copycat and so-so bits and pieces.

    So I wouldn't be surprised if

  • bookmarks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nut ( 19435 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @06:17PM (#24895855) Homepage

    I discovered it 1999, in my first job in IT.

    I remember one of my colleagues was rather dismissive of it, suggesting that a search engine was only as good as the number of pages it had indexed. Google was new, therefore it couldn't have indexed as many as the others. I started using it anyway.

    What I remember is that before google I used to bookmark everything useful I found, so I could be sure of finding it again. After using google for a while I stopped bothering. It was quicker to find a page with google that troll through my huge list of bookmarks.

  • Binary? (Score:4, Funny)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @07:22PM (#24896333)

    Is that 10, base 2? Come on, folks. Let your innner geek out. It should read:

    Google Turns 0x0A

  • "Don't be evil" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @09:35PM (#24897215) Homepage

    The problem with Google is that their "don't be evil" claim is hard to take seriously any more. Ads at the right of search results weren't too bad, but then it went downhill. They created the "content-related ad" industry, which resulted in a vast number of "made for AdWords" junk sites and blogs, the "domaining" industry, and a vast amount of crap. Even real advertisers don't like it; the smarter ones opt out of the Google Content Network and stick with the search result ads.

    From there it went downhill. Google doesn't do much to qualify their advertisers, and as we point out occasionally, about 35% of them are "bottom feeders" [sitetruth.net], where you can't even identify the real business behind the ad.

    Then there's Google Checkout. They accept very marginal businesses. [google.com] They ought to be doing the kind of validation a bank does of its clients, but clearly, they don't.

    Google's real problem is that they went public at the top of their game. Google was #1 in search when they went public, so they couldn't grow in their main business area. They had to expand to justify their high P/E ratio, and none of their expansion areas (YouTube, GMail, etc.) made money. So they had to figure out how to get more revenue per search result. At that point they started to turn to the dark side.

  • by Lothar ( 9453 ) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @04:38AM (#24899087)

    After my geek friend told me of google in autumn of 1998 I quickly abandoned AltaVista for Google. For a few weeks I would do dual searches with both to compare results and to check how Google was stacking up and it quickly became apparent that they were much much better and they had a nicer cleaner search interface. When I did my CS project I remember occasionally using both google and yahoo because they did put different search items near the top 10-20. Occationally Yahoo would throw up something Google hadn't found. But Google always overall had much better hits.

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